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Monday, July 20, 2009

Wis. S.C. decides newspapers are entitled to state personnel records

The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld a circuit court decision that provided newspapers access to state personnel records, the State Bar of Wisconsin reported. State agencies had refused to disclose names of state employees to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Lakeland Times based on a collective bargaining agreement with the Wisconsin State Employees Union. The Supreme Court determined that the Legislature didn't properly amend the Public Records Law to include its agreement with WSEU.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed two newspapers were entitled to access state personnel records after it concluded that the Legislature failed to properly amend the open records laws to prevent such disclosure.

But before the court could even reach these determinations in Milw. Journal Sentinel v. Wisc. Dept. of Admin., 2009 WI 79, it had to find that it was empowered to review the Legislature’s work. A majority of the court concluded that it was, given its mandate to review statutes for compliance with the constitution.

In dissent, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson said that the court’s review was unduly interfering in the affairs of an equal branch of government.

More here.

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